Sugaring off in and around Montréal
When it’s sugar shack time, Montrealers know spring is around the corner. Maple lovers don’t have to go far as the city has some great urban sugar shacks where Québec tradition and modern influences are combined. Below is our list of some of our favourite cabanes in and around Montréal.
Un chef à l’érable with Hakim Chajar (March 16 to April 15)
Chef Hakim Chajar joins the 7th edition of Un chef à l’érable. The chef and owner of the popular Miel restaurant is ready to take on this urban sugar shack at the Scena in Old Montréal. You’ll be spoiled with a four-course meal centered around Québec’s maple syrup tradition with dishes such as veal tongue pie and shish taouk lardon, carmelized onions with maple syrup and cheese curds, as well as the turkey confit dish with tajine spices on saffron cavatelli and an irresistible dessert of banana tatin with maple caramel and chocolate. Price for adults is $65 and $25 for children (plus taxes).
Le Richmond (weekends March10-31)
Once again, Le Richmond is bringing their highly anticipated maple brunch during the last four weekends of March. The menu consists of cabane à sucre classics as well as more creative dishes laden with maple syrup, of course. Their heated terrace will host various sugar shack activities such as cotton candy, farm animals, shooters on ice and maple taffy. Reservations are suggested.
Promenade Wellington’s Cabane Panache et Bois Rond (March 22 to 25)
Maple sugar tarts, codfish croquettes with maple sauce, maple smoked pork with maple mustard and pudding chômeur are just a few of the delectable items from local restaurants you’ll be able to enjoy during the 8th edition of Wellington Street’s urban sugar shack celebration. Listen to live music, play board games, have your curls trimmed by the barbers on site or try your hand at wood sculpting or maybe even axe throwing. There’s something for the whole family.
Complètement Sucres (April 7th)
Complètement Sucres is back this year at Morgan Park for a day of traditional music and maple taffy. The day starts at noon and runs until 4pm. Not to be missed is a friendly competition amongst the chefs from the Hochelaga neighbourhood and for just $2.50 you can sample their creations. A portion of the money raised will be donated to an organization in the community.
Rosewood Cabane à Sucre Brunch (March 3rd – April 1st)
Every Saturday and Sunday, Old Montréal’s Rosewood restaurant will be serving up brunch influenced by Québec’s maple tradition. Reservations are suggested.
Érable en fête - Jean Talon Market (March 24, from 11am to 2pm) / Atwater Market (March 25, from 11am to 2pm)
The popular public farmer’s markets Marché Jean-Talon and Marché Atwater transform into urban sugar shacks where everyone is invited! On the menu : music from the traditional québécois duo La Belle et la Brette, kids’ activities, free maple-flavoured treats (limited quantities), tastings and special offers from all the participating maple producers. At the Jean-Talon Market, sign up for a parent-child workshop where you’ll learn more about the history of maple season and get your hands dirty by making maple candy.
If you’re a fan of tire d’érable or maple taffy, the sweet treat is available at the Jean-Talon Market or the Atwater Market all season long. Maple stands abound at these locations starting in early March and until late April. While you’re there, stock up on your yearly supply of maple syrup, which you can purchase directly from the producers. If you still haven’t had enough maple, make sure to stop by Maple Delights to take home a sweet maple souvenir from Montréal.
If a real sugar shack experience is what you’re after, be sure to check out Sucrerie de la montagne. Named a Québec heritage site, open year-round, and situated in the midst of a 120-acre forest of century-old maple trees atop Mont Rigaud (an hour away from downtown Montréal), this place will make you feel like you’re experiencing the authentic Quebecois tradition of “sugaring off.” They even offer log cabins if you decide to extend your experience and stay overnight.
For another authentic experience of Québec sugar shacks, visit the Cabane Pommes et Érable de Labonté de la Pomme. Known as the first Apple Shack in Québec, this family run establishment located 45 minutes outside the city offers up a traditional menu with an influence of their specialty, apples. From March to April you can sample dishes such as salmon tartare with maple and apples as well as onion soup made with Oka cheese, maple syrup carmelized onions and croutons made from their apple bread.
Mayssam Samaha, blogger
Mayssam Samaha is a food and travel writer and blogger. She travels the world in search of the next culinary discovery. From Iceland to South Africa, she’s already visited over 30 countries and there’s nothing she enjoys more than wandering around a farmers’ market in a foreign city.